A bad year in many ways, but with promising signs for the future.
It’s been a tumultuous and often grim year in terms of environmental protection. The Trump Administration continued its onslaught against environmental protection, completing major regulatory rollbacks. Nevertheless, there were some rays of sun through the darkening clouds. State Initiatives. Progress as the state level continued, as it has throughout the Trump Administration. New York State …CONTINUE READING
The role of transparency in municipal climate plans
Last week, San Antonio’s City Council approved its first-ever Climate Action and Adaptation Plan. This Plan’s main benefit is its ability to track and measure GHG emissions, while also signaling to City agencies, other municipalities, and the state that it is committed to climate mitigation and adaptation efforts. This is a big win for a …CONTINUE READING
Is there any legal basis for the Trump Administration’s actions?
Prompting rage by President Trump, California and several carmakers entered a voluntary agreement on carbon emissions from new cars that blew past the Administration’s efforts to repeal existing federal requirements. Last week, the Trump Administration slapped back at California. Although there’s been a lot of editorializing about that response, I’ve seen very little about the …CONTINUE READING
We need to address the procedures and structures for climate policymaking.
There’s a lot of discussion about the substance of climate policy today. That’s obviously critical, but we also need to think about the procedural and institutional issues involved in making climate policy. For instance, we need to think about how to divide authority between the states and the federal government. I thought it would be …CONTINUE READING
The Empire State has jumped into the first tier of state climate action.
Last week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a breakthrough climate change law, the “New York State Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.” What every state does to address climate change is worthwhile, of course, but New York is particularly significant in terms of the national picture. It’s the nation’s third-most populous state and also …CONTINUE READING
Justices Curb Ripeness Rule; Open Federal Courts to Takings Litigation
In the final, major environmental law decision of its current Term, the U.S. Supreme Court handed property rights advocates a major victory while repudiating an important regulatory takings precedent the Court had itself fashioned and announced 34 years ago. The case is Knick v. Township of Scott. By a narrow 5-4 vote that split …CONTINUE READING
The answer: His rollback promises them little profit and much uncertainty.
Usually, you’d expect a regulated industry to applaud an effort to lighten its regulatory burdens. So you would think that the car industry would support Trump’s effort to roll back fuel efficiency standards for new vehicles and take away California’s authority to set its own vehicle standards. But that effort is being met by silence …CONTINUE READING
Regulatory approaches for vehicles versus power plants show the Trump White House’s true motivation – and it’s not states’ rights.
As my colleague Cara Horowitz has already blogged, the Trump EPA is preparing to announce a Clean Power Plan replacement today, rolling back Obama-era efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants. The plan is expected to largely shift the regulatory burden to states, essentially leaving it up to them to decide whether …CONTINUE READING
Trump’s policies clash with each other remarkably often.
A certain amount of policy inconsistency is inevitable in any Administration. But the Trump Administration seems to be breaking all records. The Administration does have strong impulses. The trouble is that its goals keep colliding. Here are some examples. Favoring gas at the expense of coal. . . And vice versa. Trump wants to promote …CONTINUE READING
There are several strategies for insulating climate policy from leaders like Trump.
Trump’s election was a surprise. What should not be a surprise is the inevitability of political setbacks for climate policy. We saw that in the U.S. with the shift from Clinton to Bush and then from Obama to Trump. We also saw that in Australia where it meant the repeal of a promising emissions trading …CONTINUE READING